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BP 'shortcuts' and the blame game

Our Readers Who Comment are busy blaming BP, or those dratted federal regulators, or President Obama for the oil-spewing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico after two House Democrats leading an investigation said BP took shortcuts "to reduce costs and save time" to bring the well on line.

Some readers are furious about the shortcuts. Some are furious that regulations may not have been followed. Some are furious that there even are regulations and argue that companies will do the right thing because it is in their interests to do so. The president gets drilled as usual, but a number of Democratic-sounding readers find it interesting that the Red Gulf States, which often decry federal intervention, are whining about what they see as inadequate federal help.

As Steven Mufson and Anne E. Kornblut write, "The money that BP allegedly saved [with the shortcuts] seems trivial in light of the blowout that killed 11 Deepwater Horizon rig workers and led to the oil spill that has polluted large swaths of the gulf. But given the daily costs of $1 million to $2 million to run a drilling rig, they appear to have been a big factor in the decision-making."

The president will address the nation tonight about the situation and columnist Eugene Robinson writes, "How well Obama learns to communicate empathy and passion while staying true to himself is relevant to his long-term effectiveness... [but] The issue isn't what Obama is feeling, it's what he's doing."

We'll start with nychap44, who asked, "Are you serious? To save time? This entire disaster was caused because someone wanted to save time?... The gallows to the fools who cut corners and wanted to save time. No trial for those criminals. Just execute them ASAP. We want to save time and money too."

gvelanis said, "If even half of what in this article is true, people need to go to jail. Of course they won't. Thousands should have gone to jail in the financial meltdown, but not one of them did. Instead the crooks were rewarded with bonuses and buyouts. Our country is broken beyond repair, a South American banana republic."

shadowmagician wrote, "To the fine people of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida - you are the ones to suffer because a few people with connections and money wanted more money. My heart goes out to you."

WealthyFinancialExecutive provided an extended rant that said, among other things, "...Regulations written in the 1960s don't have anything to do with the reality of drilling today, yet BP and all other companies in this industry are still tasked with compliance with these idiotic laws, which were outdated the moment they hit the books. Compliance with these laws actually causes conditions to be less safe than the best practices in use by the industry, so BP is forced to make their workers less safe, in order to comply with the law... Regulations don't work as leftists believe they do. Regulation is the wrong way to solve problems..."

To which jmdziuban1 provided a point-by-point response, closing with "If you really are what your moniker claims... I understand why our economy is in such a mess."

crikey said, "Thank you for this initial report. No surprises on BP management's disregard for safety or following "voluntary" recommendations. They were just doing what they do best, taking liberties for their masters' and their own gain and, not a concern for the public trust. Business as usual where there's money for nothing and the chicks are free. Good goin', BP."

liveride demanded, "Remove BP from Cleanup Operation! They are the Criminals!! The USA should hire Private Companies to do it and Bill all Expenses to BP. BP executives are still Lying about Oil Spill Rates, Lying about Oil Plums, Lying about Intimidating Cleanup Workers from discussing the spill, and Nickel and Diming Cleanup and Reparations while setting aside Billions for Stockholder Dividends. This Oil spill is an Attack on America and these guys should be arrested Immediately..."

TraderB said, "Obama is the worst person to handle any crisis. He is a typical academic, engaging in endless discussion, when action is needed."

pbarnett52 wrote, "I am not defending BP. BP cut corners etc. not only to save money but because they could. They could because the regulating agency was eviscerated by the laizze faire, anti-government Senators and Representatives as well as most Presidents beginning with Reagan..."

Thinker1 said, "Consider how oil and gas companies think about starting production, or downtime in wells. A lost day of production is not just a one day delay... it is recovered only at the end of the life of the well (worth about nothing in todays dollars). I was involved some years back in a tie-in to a big gas line, requiring it to be shut down briefly. The gas company spent wildly to reduce the downtime to a minimum."

xxxxxx1 wrote, "seize bp assets now. time to enforce the laws on corporations for a change."

But lip111, presumably with tongue in cheek, said, "Big corporations need to be left alone - no big gov't. How can you compare benefiting BP's shareholders with $20 billion in profit per year compared to a few oil covered pelicans or dead fish? Corporations will regulate themselves and we need to trust them. No big gov't. So what if a few thousand square miles are dead in the Gulf - we need the jobs. And the other businesses like fishing or tourism can go to hell. Big corporations need to be given special privileges over smaller business - it's a pure and simple example of capitalism in action, survival of the fittest."

bradfordpeterson wrote, "We need a rotating team of EPA agents on each of these rigs, their salaries to be fully paid by the rig owner/operator. This greedy nonsense that BP undertook would have been prevented with good government oversight."

pgr88 said, "Obama is a buffoon. He's not a leader, he's the Community-Activist in Chief. No one blames him for the spill but his constant triangulating to try for the best political spin and constant blaming is petty and stupid"

Rozinante2 wrote, " seems like BP, Transocean and Halliburton need to answer a specific, pointed question: Which is it - either some people or some corporation screwed up and caused this, in which case the mistakes need to be described in agonizing detail, or everything was by the book, in which case the book is wrong and needs to be re-written before more deepwater drilling is allowed."

ggwalt said, "One of the questions I don't hear being asked is why the Gulf states, excluding Florida, weren't more proactive about protecting their coastline, given all that's at stake... Florida said no to offshore drilling due to the risk to its tourism industry. All the other Gulf states just looked the other way while the number of oil rigs in the Gulf exploded 10 fold without adequate regulation or people to provide oversight...The states don't have an oil disaster plan in place, yet expect the federal government to fix this problem pronto?... These are all red states, interestingly enough, who are now demanding the federal government come to the rescue."

And mlipsius asked, "Hey small government, pro oil company conservatives---how's that workin' for ya these days? It certainly is ironic that those who bellyache about the intrusion of the federal government now have their palms out waiting for federal aid to clean up the Gulf coast after this BP oil spill..."

fwrds asked, "How does a corporation get so big, it get's to calculate the profit possible, if it squashes the little guy, trashes the ocean and beaches. How big do you need to be, that ethics no longer matter, that law no longer matters, that lives no longer matter.
And why do we let corporations grow this large. And why when they are so large and careless that they are ready to fail, do we rescue them...."

We'll close with MadamDeb, who wrote, "Note to BP: Please don't go into the Nuclear Power Plant business."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  June 15, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Oil spill  | Tags: BP, Gulf of Mexico, Obama, Oil, regulators  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Watch out, Harry Reid!
Next: Obama provokes energy debate


In 2006 then Congressman Bobby Jindal sponsored the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act (H.R. 4761) a bill to eliminate the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling over the U.S. outer continental shelf. This bill allowed unsafe oil drilling offshore without requiring Drillers to carry 3rd party disaster insurance.

Posted by: liveride | June 15, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

We know now that drilling a Secondary Relief Well is the only thing that will Stop this Spill.
All Current Drillers should be required to drill secondary relief wells. It's Crazy to allow Current Drillers to not have Secondary Relief Wells and potentially create a Duplicate Disaster.

Oil Companies Must Get Insurance to prove their Drilling Safety preparation. Let private Insurance Companies bring the power of Private Industry to help insure safe operations.

Posted by: liveride | June 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

MMS pervasiveness of corruption during the Bush Administration; Report of the Inspector General of the Department of Interior.

"Oil Company employees filled out government inspection reports for their own drilling rigs in pencil so that real inspectors could just trace over the results in pen before filing them."

”During his tenure at the Gulf regional office in Louisiana for the MMS, Chris Oynes played a central role in an offshore leasing foul-up that cost taxpayers an estimated $10 billion in lost revenue. The Interior Department's inspector general called the matter "a jaw-dropping example of bureaucratic bungling." Despite that, the agency's then-director promoted Mr. Oynes in 2007 to associate director for the offshore program.

"Just weeks before leaving office, the Interior Department's top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies -- including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions -- into senior civil service posts.

The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called "burrowing" by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs."

Posted by: liveride | June 15, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his cast of intellectuals were too busy concentrating on their pie-in-the-sky energy projects to continue the reorganization of MMS that began under Bush. And, of course, there was that major BP contribution to Obama's campaign. We're now reaping the devastation caused by the most inept administration since Carter's.

Assume that in his address to his "subjects" tonight, Obama is going to recommend full-speed ahead on those pie-in-the-sky energy projects, which will make Gore and the Chinese manufacturers giddy but will further increase the national debt and the load the taxpayers are bearing. Meanwhile, the taxpayers are becoming fewer in number since there are no jobs.

Posted by: judithod | June 15, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

As a military veteran who has served in the Middle East I am deeply offended by several Republican Congressmen’s defense of and kowtowing to BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and Marathon Oil Executives lack of a viable Oil Emergency Response plan.

Today’s hearing with Oil Executives on C-Span is a real awakening to the Corruption of Oil Politicians in allowing Oil companies to Operate in American waters with Fraudulent plans for Safety and Emergency Response as they Defend BP and fight against Reparations for the People and Resources of the Gulf Coast.

The defense of these worthless 500 page plans by Republican Congressmen is Criminal and Disgusting. If an Oil company or workers Job is to Destroy our Land and Water then you should not be in business in our Waters.

The Oil money that has soaked these politicians is a rotting stain on their States and our Nation. If you cannot even make an effort to demand stringent Safety and Regulation of Companies that Murder your people and Destroy Hundreds of Billions of Wildlife and Water resources then you need to crawl back to the Slime you come from and let real Men and Women get the Job done right.

Remove BP from Cleanup Operation! They are the Criminals!! The USA should hire Private Companies to do it and Bill all Expenses to BP.

Ordering BP to Pay $20 Billion into a Reparations and Clean-Up Escrow Account is a first step towards Protecting the People and Resources of the Gulf Coast and Hundreds of Billions of USA Resources.

Posted by: liveride | June 15, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Get Insurance to prove your Drilling Safety preparation.

Oil executives on C-Span are still Lying to our Faces about their Safety standards and capabilities. They keep repeating that they have and practice a strong safety and response plan which is Contrary to what they are doing right now in response to the Gulf Coast Oil Disaster.

BP, Exxon, Chevron, and others are still Lying about Oil Flow Rates, Oil Spill Rates, and Oil Emergency Response preparedness. Stop Lying, and get Insurance to prove your Safety practices. At least an Insurance company will Inspect and Verify a $100~$500 Billion Insurance policy holders Safety and Emergency Response ability.

We Must Immediately Require and Enforce:

* Require Secondary Relief Wells for all Current and Future Deep Sea Drilling. It's Crazy to allow Current Drillers to not have Secondary Relief Wells and potentially create a Duplicate Disaster.

* Require Current Drillers to be subject to new Insurance and Safety Regulation Requirements (& Frequent Inspections to Verify compliance and well maintained 450 Ton Blow-Out Preventers (BOP), Storage Tanks leak checks, and Pipeline Cleaning and Corrosion checks.

* Require Remote Acoustic Triggers for Shut Off Valves,

* Require Drillers to be Insured for Worst case Scenario ($100 Billion ~ $500 Billion).

* Raise the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund supported by industry fees from $1 Billion to $500 Billion.

* End the Billions in Tax breaks for Oil Companies and end all fossil-fuel subsidies.

Posted by: liveride | June 15, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Well Doug, I see you have gathered all your peers about you, and quoted them as well. If I said you had the IQ of a turnip, I'd have to apologize to root vegetables. But it must be comforting to know you have so many like minded friends out there in fairey land.


This quotation came from the Czech Republic . Someone over there has it figured out. We have a lot of work to do here.

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."

Posted by: armagedon | June 15, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

the US Coast Guard gave to BP only 48 hours (expired) to find the right way to FIX the oil spill issue
BP hasn't proposed NEW, BETTER AND FASTER SOLUTIONS, as clearly required by U.S. Coast Guard
but ONLY some NEW "PROMISES" to solve the problem more quickly... just another couple of months
so, I've developed a new and BETTER "super cap" that can be built and installed in a couple of days
read a description with the drawing of my new idea in my article latest update:
the only other alternatives to my simple, cheap, fast to build and install proposal to fix the leak are:
1. the (unknown) new "cap" ready for mid-july after 50,000,000 more gallons of oil spilled in the Gulf
2. a drilling of the two relief wells finished in mid-august after 100,000,000 more gallons of oil spilled

Posted by: gaetanomarano | June 15, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

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